What’s Happening in Europe?

Here’s what you need to know about the crisis in Europe.

September 11, 2015

What is a refugee? What is a migrant?
Under international law, refugees are people who flee their country because of war or persecution. Migrants are people who move to another country for jobs and in an effort to improve their lives.

Why are Syrians, Iraqis, and Afghans traveling to countries in Europe?
Many are fleeing violence. Most of the refugees are from Syria, where a civil war has been raging since 2011.

How are people getting to Europe?
Many refugees and migrants are taking boats across the Mediterranean Sea to Greece and Italy. More than 2,500 people have died this year attempting to cross the sea in unsafe boats. Other people are traveling overland into Hungary from Serbia.

Why did so many people end up in Hungary?
Many people hope to settle in Germany, Austria, and other northern countries. Hungary is a midway point. This summer, thousands of Syrian refugees were stranded in Hungary when authorities refused to let them board trains to Germany and Austria. To reduce the number of people entering Hungary, the country is building a barbed-wire fence on its border with Serbia.

What countries are receiving refugees?
Germany says it will get 800,000 people this year. Britain says it will take up to 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020. France says it will welcome 24,000 by 2017. Many refugees still face an uncertain future.

Is the U.S. doing anything?
On September 10, the U.S. said it would accept 10,000 refugees from Syria over the next year. The U.S. has given more than $4 billion in aid to those affected by Syria’s civil war, more than any other country. It is also giving $26.6 million for food, water, and legal help for refugees.

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